As 2021 Ends. . .

I find myself trying to figure out the best way to navigate the upcoming year. There are publishing schedules to finalize, promotion opportunities to chase down and that little thing called real life to deal with. But it also means taking a hard look at my decisions this year–mainly at going wide–and figuring out whether to stick with them or tweak them some.

What got me started going down this particular road is this post from Kris Rusch. It reminded me that I’ve let slip some of my plans regarding my “back list” and I need to review those plans and return to them. It also gave me hope because she quotes a best selling traditional author who actually has something positive to say about indie and self-publishing. It is something we should all take to heart:

I think [the backlist is] a real negative for traditional publishing. Once you sell them your book, they have your book and they own it for years. And they do pay you a nice fat fee up front, so it’s kind of a trade off, but it’s not a long-term, it’s not a retirement thing, because they’re making money off the backlist. You don’t. They give you a percentage, but…the big money, I think, for long term is probably in self publishing.

Yes, the speaker is talking “long term” and that’s something we can easily forget about. Not only in the sense that we want monetary gratification for our books right now but also because long-term returns require long-term investment of time and effort. We can’t just leave those older books languishing on our Amazon author pages and hope someone finds them. We have to push them. We might need to re-cover them. We have to put them on special.

In other words, we can’t forget about them.

So, yep, I’m sitting down this week to figure out when I’m doing what with the books that have been out there for awhile.

Take a few minutes to go read the post, as well as the others in the series. If you aren’t regularly reading Kris’ blog, bookmark it and start doing so. It is well worth the time to do so.

And now, I’m off. I have final edits to finish. So here’s hoping you had a Merry Christmas and that you will have a Happy and safe New Year!

5 comments

  1. If you are up for sharing nitty gritty details of how you are deciding how much writing and promo and so forth to plan, I’d love to hear it… says the writer who was going to finish a short story today but instead is typing one handed because a kid who has vomited six times since midnight is curled up on my lap.

    1. Your poor kid. Poor you, too. I hated when my son would get sick. I always felt so helpless when he felt bad.

      As for the deciding the rest of it, I have probably bitten off more than I should have on the writing front. I have already set up pre-orders for four(?) books between now and September. I know the dates will be moved around some, but that’s my goal. I’ve seen too much proof from my own sales and from what other indies are saying that pushing out new titles every 2 months or so is the best way to keep sales moving–not just on the new titles but on the older ones as well. But part of that includes–and this is where I fall down–making sure I run specials on the older titles in a series leading up to the release date of the latest installment. So that is my goal for after I finish the edits/writing set for today. I’ll be looking at my publishing schedule and setting the sales dates and price points for the various other titles in each series.

      I am also going to be setting up a consult with someone recommended to me who is pretty much an ace when it comes to indie promotion. But that comes after I see what Mom’s doctor and PT schedule is for the next month. Making sure her appointments are covered comes first.

      Other than that, I need to look at whether to stay with Google Books–a basic non-earner for me–and whether to go ahead and list everything through Smashwords as well as the various outlets I’m with already. One thing I’m learning is going wide means wide and each aggregator hits different markets. All that takes time to get set up but, once it’s done, it is easy to keep up. My only issues with Smashwords are its interface, the meatgrinder and I have always hated it. But, others assure me it is worth the effort.

      Next up will be finalizing covers so I can start setting up free and paid promos. Most of all, much as I hate the platform, it means maximizing my FB author presence. I may not agree with the way the platform is run or with its politics, but it is still one of the major platforms for reaching readers. Of course, that means updating other social media sites like Pinterest as well. And, heaven help me, I need to look at Tik-Tok.

      All that said, I am also looking at doing one book differently than I will the others set for this year. I may take it as an Amazon exclusive for a quarter to see how it performs financially against the rest. Of course, the only way I can get a solid comparison is to publish a stand-alone or start of another new series wide around the same time. That may be an issue–we’ll see.

      All this is a long-winded way of saying “I’m still figuring it out.” Give me a couple of weeks and I’ll try to list my timeline. In the meantime, my head is spinning as I think about everything I have to do.

      1. Good luck! Thanks for sharing all that. I hope you are able to do all the writing and promo necessary to be able to run those business case tests.

        My personal assessment on the overcommit/undercommit scale is that when I decline an opportunity once, it means I don’t get invited the next time around. So I’ve gotten very careful about my wording if I have to say “no, I can’t” because I do want it to be clear that it’s a “only no this once and please let me contribute next time.”

  2. Have a “blast from the past” sale? Pick a book that you think will appeal to the same folks as a book you’re bringing out Soon(tm), check the cover etc, and put it up on sale?

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